Women diagnosed with breast cancer also have a greater burden of other illness
Although breast cancer is worldwide the most common cancer in women, many, perhaps most patients die from other causes. In Australia, it is estimated that 17 730 people will have been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, and that there will have been 3114 breast cancer-related deaths: this represents 13% of all new cancer diagnoses, but only 6.5% of cancer deaths.1 The difference between incidence and mortality has been widening for several decades, with a continual increase in incidence but a substantial fall in mortality. Five-year survival has increased from 70% in the 1980s to 90%,1 primarily because of earlier diagnosis and improved treatment.
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